Sent by Mike Pavey
King's Lynn 22/09/2023
Based in Rye
I want to wish you a very warm welcome & to tell you a little bit about myself & why I sincerely hope you will entrust me with booking your next travel adventure & many more to come. I am here to make your travel dreams come true!
I have a cute little placque on my wall which states that 'To Travel Is To Live'..... a big & bold statement for such a small placque, but travel really is my life. From an early age I knew I wanted to travel & that dream led to a career in travel & aviation of 35 years and counting. During that time I have worked in various roles; Tour Operator, Cabin Crew, Overseas Rep, Airport Ground Handler & over 20 years as a High Street Travel Agent. I can safely say that travel is in my blood and Travel Counsellors is my next big adventure! So buckle up & join me because we are going places! From unique luxury itineraries crafted just for you, to romantic city breaks, exploring off-the-beaten track & everything in between; I can pack you off on the adventure of a lifetime & help you to make memories you will cherish forever.
I can book anything for you but my main areas of expertise are cruise and wildlife/adventure holidays. I am fortunate to have had some amazing adventures myself; I’ve driven a team of huskies in Lapland, hiked up a glacier in Iceland & seen the sunrise over the banks of the River Nile from a hot air balloon. My love of animals & adventure has taken me to areas of Southern & Eastern Africa for game viewing & I’ve stayed in a range of accommodations from luxury lodges & tents to basic 2-man tents. For me, nothing beats that thrill of being amongst wild animals, I love to have elephants, hippos, leopards & hyenas roaming freely outside my tent – it is such an honour to see these wonderful animals in their natural habitat. I still have many destinations & experiences on my ‘bucket list’ - I would love to know what’s on yours?
Please feel free to contact me for a chat about your next travel adventure & I’ll be more than happy to help. You can rest assured I will take care of all the arrangements for you – I sincerely want you to have the most amazing time!
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
10 August 2023
This surprising and delightful city assaults your senses – from the riot of brightly-coloured flowers skilfully planted everywhere to the delicious smells of food wafting from the myriad of restaurants, cafés and street stalls. Istanbul itself is a place of many contrasts, sitting astride Europe and Asia it is well known as the city where East meets West; but clichés aside, walking around this city it is evident that here is a vibrant modern city with cutting-edge technology, high-end fashion and well-educated young people. And yet one also has a strong sense of history and ancient tradition handed down from generation to generation. The Turkish people are justly proud of their rich and colourful history which is both charming and seductive to visitors. Such a vibrant and eclectic place cannot fail to capture the imagination and indeed it has been an inspiration to many writers over the years, such as the French novelist Pierre Loti and most famously our own Agatha Christie, who always stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel when she visited Istanbul. Here, in her favourite room, she wrote ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, and it is still possible to stay in that very room today. The Pera Palace Hotel is a genteel reminder of times gone by; proud of the hotel’s past they have a suite of rooms which are now a museum celebrating the life of Mustafa Kemel Atat?rk, the first President of Turkey, who also preferred to stay there. They still uphold the very British tradition of serving afternoon tea between 3pm & 6pm. History enthusiasts will love this gem of a hotel elegantly situated in the area known as ‘Little Europe’. If you are short of time or prefer to stay nearer to the major places of interest, I would recommend staying in an hotel in the Old City. Here you can be just steps away from the most famous sights of Istanbul, the Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace & Hagia Sophia, not to mention the Grand Bazaar with its 4000 shops. This area was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. There is an excellent choice of hotels to suit every budget. The Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) originated in 1616 and is named after Sultan Ahmed 1st. It boasts six minarets, the maximum number on a mosque. The best time to visit is early in the morning to avoid the crowds, remember to dress conservatively, ladies should take a scarf to cover their heads although you can borrow one from the mosque. You will also be asked to remove your shoes before entering the mosque – plastic bags are provided for you to carry your shoes in. The Topkapi Palace was the residence of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire for around 400 years. It’s free to walk in the grounds, which have a sense of peace despite the ubiquitous crowds. Here the weary traveller cannot fail to be revived by the tranquil, scented gardens. To do the Topkapi Palace justice you would really need to spend a whole day there; you need to purchase tickets to visit the key areas, the Harem Palace & the Sultans’ inner sanctum comprising the Audience Chamber where the Sultan held court. Also in this third court is a collection of garments worn by the Sultans and their families; stunningly preserved costumes in a myriad of colours – but what we found really surprising was the size of them, they were all huge! The Sultans must have been statuesque, and broad as well as tall, truly incredible! Probably the most popular rooms to visit are the rooms that house the Treasury, a mind-boggling collection of gold and precious gems and pearls, jewel-encrusted daggers, swords, thrones and carafes. Many of the items on display were gifts from visiting dignitaries from around the world. Here you can see the famous Topkapi Dagger and the mysterious Spoonmakers Diamond, the fifth largest diamond in the world, reportedly found in a rubbish dump and purchased by a pedlar for three spoons.
24 August 2023
BOTSWANA (INCLUDING VICTORIA FALLS, ZAMBIA), OCTOBER 2019 In Botswana I joined a small group tour - from Maun we travelled to the Okavango Panhandle where we spent a few nights on a houseboat. Daily boat trips allowed us to view a wealth of birdlife, huge numbers of hippos, crocodiles and some stunning sunsets. In Zambia we stayed in a lodge on the banks of the Zambezi and watched elephants cross the river as we sipped our sundowners. From here it was just a short distance to Victoria Falls and we were able to cross over into Zimbabwe and see it from that side as well. The second week of the holiday was spent wild camping in Chobe National Park and Savuti and Moremi Game Reserves. Elephants are abundant in this part of Botswana and we saw plenty! We were also lucky enough to see some shyer creatures such as a honey badger, several leopards, a cackle of Hyena’s with several cubs and two packs of wild dogs - such a privilege. Basic camping in unfenced camps is a truly immersive experience and is not everyone’s idea of fun, but I absolutely loved it.
24 August 2023
KENYA, FEBRUARY 2013 - LAIKIPIA & MASAI MARA In February 2013 came my second second safari trip, this time to Kenya, East Africa, for a truly immersive game experience. Arriving into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport, we did the short road transfer to Wilson Airport and from there flew with Safarilink to Nanyuki, affording magnificent views of Mount Kenya. Here we enjoyed a few nights at Kicheche Laikipia with it's abundant elephant population who obligingly visited the watering hole by our camp daily; such a priviledge to be able to observe the herd from outside our tents as they enjoyed their time at the watering hole. Other highlights at Laikipia were a walking safari, rhino (black and white) and the rare Grevys zebra; also a night-drive where we saw a porcupine just setting off on it's night-time constitutional. From there we flew on to the Masai Mara... the route took us directly over Lake Naivasha which was tinged pink with Flamingoes! As we approached the Mara, I recall being amazed at how green it was, and I was delighted to be met by a Masai (our Guide) in his colourful blanket. We stayed at Kicheche Mara, Kicheche Bush and Kicheche Valley respectively - all of which are on Conservancies and offer guests a very intimate experience, each one having only 6 luxuriously-appointed tents. The game-viewing was second-to-none, I was completely blown away by the diversity and numbers we saw, and I felt so lucky that our wonderful guides were local Masai, whose knowledge was so evident and whose enthusiasm contagious. For me the highlight of the trip was seeing a Cheetah giving expert hunting tuition to her two adolescent cubs - such graceful mastery! The camaraderie of shared mealtimes/downtime with your fellow travellers is a huge part of what makes safaris the perfect holiday for me; I just adore that cosy feeling of swapping stories around a crackling fire with a mug of hot tea in your hand....bliss!!
24 August 2023
SOUTH AFRICA NOVEMBER 2016 - CAPE TOWN, HERMANUS, THE GARDEN ROUTE & KARIEGA GAME RESERVE Having not previously travelled the 'Garden Route' in South Africa, which of course tends to be many people's first African adventure, I was keen to put this right, and to introduce my family to the delights of Africa and ultimately safari. We spent a delightful few days in Cape Town and did a number of tours around the local area, including Robben Island. A slight disappointment was being unable to go to the top of Table Mountain as it was too windy for the cablecar... I hadn't realised that Cape Town is well known for being extremely windy, so at least I learnt something and it also gives me a good excuse to return, I need to go to the top of that mountain! A relaxed drive from Cape Town brought us to Hermanus where we were extremely fortunate to enjoy the spectacle of huge pods of Southern Right Whales on their migration to warmer waters; swimming past seemingly close enough to touch! I am a very reluctant sailor, so for me, to be able to stand on the shore and witness these vast creatures at such close quarters was a real treat. In Plettenberg we enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere at the unique and ever-popular Hog Hollow Country Lodge where we actually bumped into some friends of friends! The holiday culminated in several nights at Kariega Game Reserve on the Eastern Cape. Kariega is a very welcoming lodge and we were made very comfortable there. Our alotted guide was actually a young British woman and she was wonderful; very professional, very capable and, of course, she knew her stuff too! This reserve has two sides, a predator side and a non-predator side, which was a bit 'different' but it was an excellent place to take my family on their first safari experience. We enjoyed day and night game drives and saw plenty of hippo and the dearest jackal pups.
24 August 2023
AFRICA... THE STUFF OF DREAMS... For as long as I can remember I have always loved and dreamed about travelling, so it was a natural progression to turn this deep-seated interest into a career; and that's exactly what I did - my first job working as a Reservations Agent at Cosmos Holidays! Since then I have explored many aspects of the travel industry... including Overseas Repping, Ground Handling Agent and Cabin Crew, not to mention over 20 years as a Senior Travel Consultant! It was during this role as a Travel Consultant that the touch-paper was lit which ignited my passion and fascination with Africa and now I am totally hooked, I don't think I could ever tire of Africa! The word ‘Safari’, of course means 'Journey' in Swahili.... and this is my African journey which I would love to share with you…… SOUTH AFRICA 2009 - UMHLANGA ROCKS, KWAZULU NATAL, BATTLEFIELDS & DRAKENSBURG MOUNTAINS In approximately 2009 I was lucky enough to travel to South Africa; flying into Durban, I visited Umhlanga Rocks, Kwazulu Natal, Battlefields and The Drakensburg Mountains. We stayed in a variety of accommodation from the boutique-style Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks to the stunningly-positioned Isandlwana Lodge, and everything in between! I was in awe of the fantastic game on my first ever game drives and I was even lucky enough to enjoy a horseback safari. This trip was an amazing introduction to South Africa and certainly illustrated the diversity of this breathtakingly beautiful country; although I didn't know it then, I was hooked!
29 August 2023
In April 2019 I travelled to Iceland; the now very popular destination had long been on my wish-list, so I was thrilled to be given this opportunity. The trip promised not only a wealth of fascinating geological features but also some exciting activities, right up my street! Gatwick to Keflavik is a mere 3 hour flight and in April there was still quite a lot of snow on the ground. On the way from the airport we stopped at the Blue Lagoon to enjoy the hot geothermal water. The whole experience is rather ‘other worldly’, fellow bathers suddenly loom large out of the clouds of steam, the sulphurous smells assault your senses, but it is also strangely peaceful and relaxing – we had the ‘Comfort Package’ which included entrance, use of a towel, a silica mud mask and one drink from the swim-up bar. Just to add to the whole weirdness it even snowed while we wallowed in the hot waters! After the visit to the Blue Lagoon we continued on to Reykjavik, for our first night. Hotels in Iceland, I was to discover, tend to be clean, functional and utilitarian. The following morning we had an excellent breakfast, which was lucky because many of our group enjoyed it twice over – oh yes, it was the whale-watching trip that morning and there was quite a swell…….! I’m afraid I didn’t partake of this as I am averse to bobbing about in small boats, but I think most of them had a good time and I believe they did see a whale (yay!) After visiting several more Reykjavik hotels, which were all very impressive for different reasons we proceeded to the heli-base, where unbeknown to us we were in for a real treat, a helicopter flight over colourful Reykjavik! It is possible to book customised heli-tours which can include once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as landing on a volcano or a glacier. Iceland is such a unique country with stunning geological features and seeing these from the air adds an extra dimension to a holiday in this fascinating destination. Following the excitement of the helicopter trip we headed out of Reyjavik in high spirits to embark on the ‘Golden Circle’; this consists of three stunning locations in southwest Iceland: Thingvillir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the geothermically active valley called Haukadalur where you will find the Geysir and Strokkur geysers. These sites are renowned across the world and all showcase Mother Nature at her most extreme and wild. None of them is further than a two hour's drive from Reykjavík, and so it is possible to visit them on a day trip.
King's Lynn 22/09/2023